Ed's Reviews > A Dance to the Music of Time: 1st Movement

A Dance to the Music of Time by Anthony Powell
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Mar 22, 09

Read in January, 1978

This and the other four volumes are actually a total of 12 novels following a welter of British characters from 1914 until the mid 1960s. I am about to start reading the whole sequence for the third time. There is also a great BBC dramatization on DVD: Dance to the Music of Time.

This is the British equivalent of Proust's In Search of Lost Time. I guess I find it closer to life as it was lived in the 20th century and certainly to the idea of our lives as a dance that characters keep returning to, in different changing guises, mirroring society's evolution as well as their personal characters.

In Widmerpool Powell has created an awesomely representative villain whose growing evil is perfectly understandable given his starting point and what happens around him. Though memorably someone once said: 'we are all someone's Widmerpool': someone thinks us evil in some way. And he has one of my favorite tragic characters: Charles Stringham. But it is the way minor characters pop up over the 50 year trajectory that I find fun. And also finding out the real people Powell based his characters on: which includes George Orwell.

Anyway if you have six months reading to find: this novel sequence is something to try.
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